External Forces by Deborah Rix (Review)

Release date: September 15 2013

Publisher: Dime Store Books

Number of pages: 264

My rating: 2/5

Well… this is very… strange.

I’m 99% sure that this is a rip off of Divergent.

But, the usual stuff first.

External Forces is about a girl called Jess. She lives in a dystopian society which is united against a special group of people known as the Deviant. She joins the army to fight against these Deviant people. She makes friends, and then becomes freakishly popular. She develops a crush on her instructor, Matt and they plot to escape the army.

The characters were pretty poor. I didn’t give a shit about any of them except Sheree. They were all pretty unremarkable. Matt was the typical mysterious person, Jess was average, and Jay was a bore. Sheree pretty much saved this book for me. She was badass and awesome, and I freaking loved her.

Honestly, the plot is pretty confusing. There’s some twisted religion stuff about God’s Fury and angel messages that aren’t well explained. There’s all this data and weird ways of retrieving it. There’s this grand escape, and I’m not entirely sure what they want to achieve.

The book isn’t very interesting. The start dumped a lot of info about the world and how it went. This was all fed through to the reader by Jess. It was pretty overwhelming and because of the information overload, I can’t remember a thing that Jess explained. After a bad start, my interest in the book plummeted.

This book isn’t exceptional in any way. However, it also isn’t horrible. I could definitely see people liking this.

However, there were so many similarities to Divergent by Veronica Roth that this book borders on being a mediocre rewrite.

These similarities include:

·         Having a group of people who are considered dangerous and un-normal. These people are called Deviant in External forces and Divergent in Divergent. These differences lie in the brains of these people. However, they are quite different with the Deviant being much more extreme and well known.

·         A gated society (okay, that’s a pretty insignificant one)

·         A knife throwing scene where people STAND IN FRONT OF TARGETS. Seriously. One guy even gets his ear nicked. (The Divergent scene is much better and has better reasons. The Deviant one is pointless and ridiculous).

·         Sim seats that act like the simulations in Divergent.

·         A sim test that involves choices like the aptitude test in Divergent.

·         Sim seats that are just like the simulations used in Divergent.

·         The main characters of both books are deviant/divergent.

·         Different sections of society. In External Forces, this involves the places that people choose to work. The sections in Divergent are more severe and are a way of life, not just a job.

·         Both heroines choose to join the fighting/army/fearless sector.

·         Both main characters have to go through a tough selection process, which involves fighting, psych tests, sim tests, and people dying.

·         The sim tests (or psych tests; I can’t remember) document the fears of a person, just like the fear landscape in Divergent.

·         Both heroines fall in love with their instructors.

·         Both heroines get sexually harassed by people jealous of them (and then proceed to have very similar conversations with their instructors about it).

·         Both main characters have many people jealous of them.

·         Both main characters get their hair cut short right after people they love get killed by the army/Dauntless.

These similarities aren’t just minor. They’re pretty major. The knife scene was probably the most copied one. It was just way too similar to be a coincidence. This combined with all the other similarities give this book a real “rip off” vibe.

Even though the foundations of the society are very similar to Divergent, the last half of the book changes and becomes quite different to Divergent. It looks like this series will head down a very different path. However, IMO this is not enough to make up for the suspicious similarities throughout the book.

This book reads like an inferior rewrite of Divergent. It isn’t completely horrible, but it barely has any redeeming qualities. I would not recommend this book; the similarity of this book to Divergent was a deal-breaker for me.

An ARC was received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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